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Jargon Cloaks Cloning

June 22, 2002

Re "Cloning Receives a Makeover," June 17: "Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three-quarters of the time one's never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them." What Aldous Huxley once lamented as an existential poverty, human cloning entrepreneurs are now employing as the path to prosperity. By deploying sterile and bewildering jargon (e.g., "somatic cell nuclear transfer," "nuclear-transfer-derived blastocyst"), biotech capitalists have cordoned off the American public from the ghastly physical reality of cloned human beings.

The latest result of this Rube Goldberg rhetoric is the derailment in the U.S. Senate of a clear-cut ban on human cloning. We have allowed such "linguistic cloaking devices" to blunt our instinctive aversion to the deliberate creation and destruction of living human embryos. As we pursue utilitarian impulses rather than moral conviction we unwittingly feed researchers' insatiable desire to push ethical boundaries.

In the case of human cloning, that means first cloning human embryos for cell extraction or to use as disease models--"guinea pigs." As time passes in the drive for elusive cures, new rhetoric will rationalize growing the human embryo into a fetus--and conceivably, even a born baby--for organ extraction. Once the frontier of revulsion has been crossed, each successive foray into the ethical wilderness will prove easier, until finally we find ourselves irretrievably trapped in a brave new world of our own creation.

Jonathan Imbody

Senior Policy Analyst

Christian Medical Assn.

Springfield, Va.


Therapeutic cloning is not making a new person out of an existing person. Therapeutic cloning is making new cells for the existing sick person. Why is that so hard to understand? It's not just for 45-year-old women like me with Parkinson's disease, it's for little children suffering with juvenile diabetes. Are you going to explain to a child that you are just not "comfortable" with a concept that may cure his disease so he can live a long, healthy life? If you want to look into that child's eyes or the eyes of adults suffering from a progressively debilitating disease and try to tell them you can't see past your own bizarre fears, you go ahead.

I'm with Sens. Arlen Specter, Dianne Feinstein, Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy in their sponsorship of the Human Cloning Prohibition Act. This bill makes sense.

Florence Woolery

Westlake Village

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